Talk Therapy for Depression in Dementia Patients

Talk Therapy for Depression in Dementia Patients

New research reveals that talking therapy can help dementia patients with depressive symptoms, giving hope to a group who normally does not respond well to antidepressants. Patients with dementia frequently experience anxiety and depression, but specialists are baffled as to how to treat these symptoms because regularly prescribed medications may not function for dementia patients and may create negative effects. The study is significant, according to the researchers, since it is the first to show that psychological interventions, such as talking therapy, are helpful and worthwhile in the setting of ineffective depression medications in dementia patients. It also suggests that the therapies may assist to enhance the quality of life and everyday functioning of the patients, according to UCL experts. Clinical standards for dementia should be revised, according to the researchers, to include psychosocial therapies, particularly Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). They claim that their data refute the concept that psychological treatments for patients with cognitive impairment and dementia are ineffective and lead author Dr. Vasiliki Orgeta, associate professor at UCL Psychiatry added that they presently have no standard treatments for depression for patients with dementia, as antidepressants do not work for them, yet, despite the absence of evidence, they are being prescribed for many individuals living with dementia, which is a significant problem given that increasing data suggest that they not only do not alleviate symptoms, but they may also raise the risk of mortality. Dr. Orgeta also remarked that previous data concerning the clinical effectiveness of psychological therapy has been limited. They found that these treatments, particularly those concentrating on encouraging persons with dementia to utilise techniques in reducing discomfort and promoting wellbeing, are beneficial in reducing symptoms of depression, based on the most recent data.

Psychological treatments based on psychological ideas are commonly referred to as talking therapies. They entail a therapist working with a person or a small group of people to build skills and methods for improving one's well-being, and they can be tailored to those with cognitive impairment. According to studies, people with dementia are twice as likely to be diagnosed with major depressive illness as people their age. Previous research has shown that 16% of patients with dementia suffer from depression, but this number could be as high as 40%, indicating that better therapies are desperately needed. Depression and anxiety can exacerbate the severity of neurological impairment, limiting independence and increasing the likelihood of needing long-term care. Dr. Orgeta concluded that their findings debunk the myth that psychological treatments are ineffective for people with cognitive impairment and dementia and show that more research in this area needs to be invested and access to psychological services for people with dementia around the world needs to be expanded, and they also work towards patients with dementia and cognitive impairment to have the same access to mental health facilities as others. The Cochrane Library used information from 29 trials of psychological treatments for individuals with dementia or moderate cognitive impairment, totalling close to 2,600 research participants, for the publication, which was published as part of their collection of systematic reviews. Co-author, Dr. Phuong Leung of UCL Psychiatry mentioned that there is now solid enough quality evidence to support the use of psychological therapy for patients with dementia, rather than prescribing drugs, and without the danger of pharmacological side effects, and now is the time for more doctors to choose talk therapies for their patients, as well as a commitment to supporting more high-quality research in this field.

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